The Electronic Retailing Association

First time: first reactions to the first Speed Business Dating Event for conference first timers

The Speed Business Dating Event kicked off on the opening morning of the conference to help first time attendees to gain a first foothold at the conference.

On the opening morning of the conference, first time conference attendees gathered at 9 a.m. to take part in the pilot Speed Business Dating Event where they could meet high level employees of the participating member companies: Ken Locicero from HSE24 (Germany), Rochelle Piper and Jack Morgan from JML (UK), Agnés Rosoor, Teleshopping (France), Dieter Schneider, MediaShop (Austria) and Andy Latimer, Bluewater Media (U.S.)

The room was laid out with high tables where the business dates could take place. First timers rotated through the room moving from one company to the next. At the end of the event they also met each other.

Agnés Rosoor, CEO Telshopping (France) mid-date at the Speed Business Dating Event

ERA Europe spoke to Agnés Rosoor CEO Teleshopping, France, to get her opinion of the value of the event from the viewpoint of participating established member companies.

ERA Europe: Agnés, how have you experienced the Speed Business Dating event to help new companies meet key industry players?

AR: Its a good idea and speed dating is the right format. It would have helped if the newcomers had been asked to provide standardised format presentations – they came without pictures or shows to see without which its difficult to have good perception of what they are selling. One company also have a booth and now that I have met them I will go to the booth.

ERA Europe: What happens if you know straight away at the beginning of the 'business date' that the company is not interesting for you?

AR: If its not interesting I just stop. One company was offering vitamins which do not sell well in France. Another of the companies (Progress) are attending the ERA show for the first time but we have been working with them already for 20 years.

ERA Europe: Would you be willing to do it again next year?

AR: Yes, we are willing to do it. We could find good suppliers.

Rochelle Piper and Jack Morgan from JML talking to first time attendee Brandon Liu from Joyl'es, specialists in functional textiles

ERA Europe also asked the opinion of Rochelle Piper and Jack Morgan from a key member company, JML.

ERA Europe: Jack and Rochelle, you are participating here today on behalf of JML. What are you hoping to get out of the Speed Business Dating session?

JML: We are looking for people presenting new and exciting products.

ERA Europe: Were the first time companies well prepared?

JML: Was just an initial chat so not a big deal for us that they didn't have pictures altho it does help if there is something to see – speeds things up. Its important to get across what relationship they want to build.

ERA Europe: Did you find a potential new supplier?

JML: Made seemed quite good – they are quite strong in fitness products. Also Progress has products under the lifestyle umbrella which is something that could fit to the JML model

ERA Europe: What is the ideal length of time for such 'Speed Dates'

JML: 10 minutes would work

ERA Europe asked one of the First Time Attendees, Volodymr Shemshur, from Unimail Ukraine (LetterPack LLC) to give a short introduction of his company and for feedback to the event from his perspective.

Unimail was a first time attendee at the ERA Europe Conference and joined in the Speed Business Dating Event.

ERA Europe: Welcome to the ERA Conference in Seville, Volodymr. As you are a first timer at the conference, please give a short description of your company.

VS: The UniMail Group of companies is specialized (#1 in Ukraine) on the Direct Marketing business in Ukraine (variety print catalogues of books, food, consumer goods, jewelry, food supplements..etc).

Additionally we are #1 in Ukraine for Lettershop/Fulfilment/Database service. We manage our own lettershop/fulfilment/printing house and we also provide full services for local/international banks like Reiffeisen, AlfaBank, Kredobank, FMCG companies, collectors companies, Yves Rocher in Ukraine, Reader`s Digest etc.

Volodymr Shemshur, (Unimail), Ukraine (background, left) took part in the first Speed Business Dating Event on the first day of the 2018 Seville Conference.

We also provide full print/personalisation/lettershop services for our partners in the Baltics. Making letters pre-sorting according to NordPost requirements and sending directly to Swe customers or to the post hub in Estonia. We are also the #1 Consolidator/partner of Ukr/Poshta (Ukr. National Post). With our local and international letter and parcel service we offer our customers to send out all possible kinds of mailings at very special postage fees from UkrPost. We are also in the top 5 of local Call centers Inbound & Outbound.

ERA Europe: You are attending the ERA Europe Conference for the first time. Was it useful for you to attend the Speed Business Dating event?

VS: Very useful, interesting and fruitful!

ERA Europe: Any ideas for how we could improve the event next year?

VS: It would be great if more companies attended from the former USSR (e.g. Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan)